Circumnavigations have become a great way of drawing attention to an issue, be it a good cause, the environment or simply inspiring others. It could be Britain, Africa or the Americas. Now there's Len Surtees, cancer survivor, who departed less than a month ago determined to sail solo around Australia in a 9 metre catamaran called Zeavard. He is now almost half way there, and looking good!
Len Surtees on Zeavard
Len Surtees prior to departure with the organisations he is promoting
Having left Tin Can Bay in Queensland, Len, a multihull designer by profession, and his yellow folding catamaran, which he designed and built himself, are trying to break a couple of records during the circumnavigation:
First, the smallest sailing boat to circumnavigate Australia, which entails sailing below Tasmania into the Southern Ocean for a time, and second, the oldest sailor to circumnavigate Australia.
These, he hopes, will be recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records. (We'll have to wait and see though - The Guiness Book of Records has previously stated that they will no longer record age-related records.)
But Len, regardless of any record he might set, is set to become an inspiration to all those across the world suffering from cancer. 25 years ago, he was told he had six weeks before aggressive bowel cancer would take his life.
'I had two beautiful little girls, two years and five years old, and there was no way I was going to leave those girls.' he told the ABC on arrival in Broome. 'With a very very good surgeon we were able to get rid of the cancer.'
The illness left Len with a colostomy needing a plastic bag attached each day to an opening in his abdomen.
'It's part of you, it's part of your life, you accept it and you get on with it.'
So far so good - Len Surtees circumnavigation of Australia in progress
...and twenty-five years later he is still 'getting on with it' - in a big way!
Len hopes has joined forces with a national Cancer support group to provide more public awareness of these organisations.
To follow the rest of Len's journey, go to his http://www.surteesmultihulls.com/!Surtees_Multihulls_website